Alonso’s ‘obsession’, Alpine’s bolstered brand

Michelle Foster
Luca de Meo and Laurent Rossi. France June 2021

Renault Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo gesturing to Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi at the Paul Ricard circuit. France June 2021

The Alpine team is benefitting from Fernando Alonso’s “almost obsession” and strive for “perfection”, says Renault CEO Luca de Meo.

The double World Champion returned to Formula 1, and the Enstone team, this season determined to add a 33rd grand prix win to his tally.

But while he is yet to do that, he has been given a large part of the credit for Esteban Ocon’s Hungarian Grand Prix victory, Alpine’s first win of the season.

Although it was Ocon who crossed the line in first place, he was helped by Alonso who held up the charging Lewis Hamilton for 12 laps in a brilliant defensive drive.

That, though, is not the only way Alonso is helping Alpine.

“Fernando is an extremely important factor with his attitude, motivation, almost obsession and his striving for perfection,” De Meo told Speedweek.

It can be said that a hefty dose of luck also playing a role in Ocon’s win, the Frenchman benefitting from the opening lap carnage that took out several rivals.

De Meo is adamant that in time Alpine will become more competitive.

“We’ll be more competitive than today, I’m quite sure of that,” he said. “I want to put the team on a stronger footing.”

Alonso finished P4 in Hungary with Alpine’s best result before that race the Spaniard’s sixth placed finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Check out all the latest Fernando Alonso merchandise on the official Formula 1 store

Alonso’s two previous stints with the Enstone team were under the Renault banner, however, as of this year the team has been rebranded Alpine.

De Meo says Alpine is already benefitting from being on the Formula 1 grid.

“Alpine should prove that the Renault Group can hold its own at the highest level,” he said.

“The Formula 1 project is at the heart of the Alpine business model. With our appearance in Formula 1, we can generate attention that we couldn’t get through anything else.

“Let’s be honest – until recently – nobody outside of France, apart from a few freaks, had anything to do with the Alpine brand. Now it is in the consciousness of many more people.

“We haven’t brought out a new model for a long time, but sales increased by three to four times as much as before.”